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AAC College Basketball Betting Odds & Analysis: Is Houston Overvalued in Futures Market?

AAC College Basketball Betting Odds & Analysis: Is Houston Overvalued in Futures Market? article feature image

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Taze Moore (Houston)

Now that we are nearly a third of the way through AAC play, we are seeing the shape of the conference take form.

The AAC title has continued to trend toward the Houston Cougars’ direction, as they are undefeated in league play this season. The group has continued to impress even without its star guard Marcus Sasser.

But the Cougars haven’t faced much competition recently, which could make them vulnerable down the stretch.

Memphis, which had high hopes of an NCAA Tournament title, is now looking to just get a ticket to the Big Dance. After losing three games in a row, the Tigers were lucky to escape a 15-point second-half deficit to overcome Tulsa.

After winning 11 of its last 12 games, SMU has seen its odds shift to the second favorite. The emergence of the Weathers twins have finally provided second and third scoring options to prolific guard Kendric Davis.

Is Houston Overvalued?

Houston has been steamrolling its competition, winning by an average margin of 21 points this season. But the issue is, it hasn’t had many difficult games, ranking 150th in strength of schedule, according to KenPom.

The Cougars have faced just three opponents that rank inside the KenPom top-50. They lost two of those matchups — Wisconsin and Alabama — while defeating Oregon (when the Ducks were still struggling).

In Houston’s first six in-conference games, it has faced the bottom-five teams in the AAC (including South Florida twice). The Cougars remain unproven, as the program has yet to duel Memphis, SMU, Cincinnati or UCF.

I find Houston overvalued at the current price of -280. Until the Cougars beat stiffer competition convincingly, I am looking elsewhere in the futures market.

What’s Wrong With Memphis?

After starting out the season winning its first five games, the Tigers are in free fall, owning a 5-8 record since. Memphis lost at UCF and East Carolina before dropping a game at home to SMU.

The young roster is still struggling with fundamentals like turnovers and making free throws. Memphis ranks in the bottom 10 in the country in turnover percentage, averaging over 17 per game. The Tigers are hitting just 66% from the charity stripe, which also ranks outside the top-300 nationally.

Memphis has been bankrupting bettors this season, going 5-13 against the spread. The Tigers have continued to underperform, failing to cover the spread in six games straight.

Much of that blame has appropriately gone to head coach Penny Hardaway. After the loss to SMU, he finally snapped at reporters in his post-game interview. Hardaway was full of excuses, but maybe the issue with the Tigers starts with him.

Where’s The Value?

SMU Mustangs (+500)

SMU has only lost one game since Thanksgiving, which was a tough spot on the road in Cincinnati.

Davis is potentially the most explosive player in the country, putting up 21 points while hitting 40% from behind the arc. He’s been aided recently by Marcus and Michael Weathers, who are each averaging double digits this season.

The Mustangs have been successful on both ends of the floor, owning the fourth-ranked offensive efficiency mark in the conference. They have held opponents to 45% shooting from the floor, which ranks 23rd in the country.

With the playmakers that Tim Jankovich has on this roster, no one will want to matchup with SMU come tournament time.

Cincinnati Bearcats (+1800)

Cincinnati has ripped off three wins in a row and sits at 4-2 in AAC play.

The Bearcats own a stifling defense that ranks fourth in the nation in effective field goal percentage, holding their opponents to just 42%. They’re specifically dominant at defending 2-point attempts, as they rank third nationally.

The program defeated Illinois early in the season and handed SMU its only loss since November (by 16 points).

The Bearcats held odds of +650 at the end of 2021 before losing to Tulane after an 11-day COVID pause. I don’t put much stock into that loss, but oddsmakers boosted the Bearcats to +1800, and I’m taking advantage of that.

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